My story “After the Fire” is now up at Apex Magazine, as part of the special World SF issue edited by Lavie Tidhar. It’s, er, sort of a post-apocalypse story, set in a China where the Empire never fell. Well, sort of set in China…
In her dreams, Jiaotan saw Father: hands outstretched, the flesh of the fingers fraying away to reveal the yellowed, tapered shape of bones, the deep-set eyes bulging in their sockets, pleading, begging her to take him away.
“You’re dead,” she whispered. “Rest in peace, with the Ancestors–watch over us from Heaven.”
But the Ancestors were bones and dried sinews, shambling upright from the wreck of their graves–anger shining in the hollows of their eye sockets as they walked past the devastated gardens, the withered trees, the dried-out waterfalls and rivers. And clouds marched across Heaven, a billowing mass of sickly grey spreading to cut the path of The Red Carp as it rose away from Earth…
The issue also includes Nir Yaniv and Aleksandar Žiljak, and an interview with Maylasian writer Tunku Halim (courtesy of the tireless Charles Tan)
I workshopped “After the Fire” (as “In Our Minds, In Our Hearts”) on OWW rather close to the deadline for handing it in–so many thanks to Mark Hünken, Tom Crosshill, Sylvia Volk and Max Griffin for helping me whip this into shape. And thanks to Lavie for the editing and the title help, as well as giving me the opportunity to write in a genre and a length I don’t often try.
And don’t forget that The Apex Book of World SF has been released, giving you a chance to read “The Lost Xuyan Bride” on paper alongside many other tales from cool writers such as Mélanie Fazi, Jetse de Vries and Kaaron Warren. You can read a sample of the book online, Aleksandar Žiljak’s “An Evening In the City Coffeehouse, With Lydia On My Mind”–as Lavie puts it, a mixture of Boogie Nights and Men in Black.